Have Baby – Will Travel.

3 Jan

My sous chef and I decided to attempt a daring adventure this holiday season. We flew to Chicago from San Francisco, alone, four days before my husband. It was all my sous chef’s idea. She wanted extra grandma and grandpa time and would not settle for a mere five days, which I had initially suggested.

Pfft...five days? I want ten!

So, at the ungodly hour of 4am on the 18th of December we set off…just the two of us (okay, so my husband drove us to the airport…but then it was just the two of us).

I had two main concerns during this trip:

1. How the heck would I get through security?

2. Would my sous chef scream for the entire flight?

The answers to these questions are:

1. Not very gracefully.

2. Yes.

But, I survived, and so did my little one, and we’ll probably fly together, alone, again (in fact someone is already trying to negotiate more grandma time).

Here are a few things that helped me get through the trip.

Tips for travelling alone with an infant.

1. If you can, get a seat for the baby. Obviously this is expensive so it’s not for everyone. But the extra room is really appreciated when you’re on your own.

2. Sit by the window. For me this was SO much better than an aisle seat. In the aisle every person who gets up to go to the bathroom can see down the ol’ “bebe au lait” nursing cover…no fun.   Also, the flight attendants don’t pay much attention to little baby limbs that hang out in the aisle, so you have to be extra vigilant to make sure your baby doesn’t get hit by a passing cart.

3. Bring your baby carrier! Your Ergo, Baby Bjorn, Moby Wrap…whatever you use. Bring it, you will need it. Also while wearing it you get a cute view, like this.

4. If bringing a stroller, make sure it’s a small one and easy to fold. I brought a Graco stroller that my car seat clips onto. It was so much easier to handle than our UppaBaby base. Also it fit through the regular security conveyor belt…the UppaBaby base is too big and needs to go through special screening. This is a huge pain if you’re on your own.

5. Gate check your stroller. This way you have it right up until you get on the plane.

6. Find out if there is a nursery in the terminal. When I flew out of San Francisco there was a nice, quiet nursery, where I could feed my baby and change her diapers. It was locked with a code…I just had to call information on a courtesy phone to get the code. Easy!

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As I was boarding the plane, my sous chef was screaming and arching out of her Ergo, making it impossible to fold up her stroller. A very sweet family with small children of their own offered to help me and I accepted. Other parents understand.

8. When you get on the plane, nurse the baby! Nurse, give a pacifier or a bottle…whatever, just make sure that baby is sucking on something. My girl didn’t cry at all on ascent or descent because she was too busy nursing.

9. If your baby does cry, just stay calm. My sous chef was so exhausted when we got on the plane that she SCREAMED her head off for half the flight. She then calmed down, slept for ten minutes, woke up and screamed some more. Then, a few minutes before landing, she decided to giggle and bat her lashes at everyone around us in an attempt to redeem herself. Sure we got a few dirty looks…but really who cares? The people giving the looks were terrors as children, I’m sure. Most people were very sweet and understanding…and then they went home and bought 200 different kinds of birth control.

10. If possible, have someone pick you up from the airport. Words cannot express how grateful I was to see my parents in the baggage claim area. Finally, someone to help me! And finally I could pee!

We survived!

Happy Holidays to everyone and safe travels!


2 Responses to “Have Baby – Will Travel.”

  1. The Food Hound January 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    Well done!! My mother always took little Lego-man toys for my brother to open up on the long flights to and from Europe when he was a toddler. One toy to unwrap every hour– BRILLIANT! You can store that for when little Sous Chef needs it 🙂

    • sunandmoonandstars January 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

      Good idea! Thanks!

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